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How To Make The Outdoor A More Inclusive Space

A dad and his two young kids lay in the grass near a tent.

Making the outdoors a more inclusive space is incredibly important to us at Kids Who Explore. We believe that everyone has a place in nature, and continue to educate ourselves on ways we can make the outdoors more welcoming. Here are a few simple tips we've come up with these tips to help make the outdoors a more inclusive space:


 


Educate yourself on the history of the outdoors

A family laughs as they prepare to sleep in a tent.

Listen to the stories of those who have made an impact in diversifying the outdoor community. Listening to BIPOC historians gives you a deeper understanding of the American National Park system. When the National Parks system was launched a century ago, it was intended to preserve the natural beauty of the parks for future generations; but the Parks' history is much more complicated than that -- involving exclusion and ethnic cleansing. 

Educating yourself and younger generations allows for a greater appreciation for the outdoors and the land we are on today.



Making sure all those experiencing the outdoors feel welcome and safe

A biracial family roasts marshmallows while camping.

No matter what your skill level or ability is, there is a space for you in nature. Allowing nature to raise our children has proven benefits beyond belief, and taking away this safe space can take away the long term benefits nature has on the younger generations. 


Marginalized groups in the outdoor community not only encounter psychological discomfort in the outdoors but also have issues with physical safety. Whether it be fear of judgment, harassment, or assault—whatever concern it may be—no one should have to feel this way while exploring nature. Creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere will always promote more diversity in the outdoors.



Supporting organizations working towards outdoor diversification

Two dads help their child learn how to bike.

Promoting diversity and fairness in other outlets like supporting organizations is a great way for support to make an impact. From booking a tour through a tourism board such as Indigenous Tourism Alberta, or donating to organizations such as Camber Outdoors -- which spent the past two decades fighting for women's equality in the outdoors industry, expanded its mission this year to encompass all racial and ethnic groups, the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities. 


Diversity looks different for everyone. For you, diversity may be having a different skin color than your neighbor or your best friend's abilities being different from yours—but that doesn't mean said person deserves to be in nature any less. 



Use your voice to promote the need for economic accessibility

A family of four bikes along a path.

Creating more access points that allow users to enter parks, trails, and more. Just because someone may have mobility restrictions doesn't mean that they shouldn't have access to said area. Creating more access points opens the door for more people to experience what they should never miss out on. Attending council meetings is a great way to get your voice heard, but also writing into any community forums. 


Certain Parks offer 'Free Admission' days, but it isn't often, nor is it a program recognized amongst all Parks. First-timer admission programs promote new visitors to the park and encourage people who may not have thought to get out before. 



Attend cultural events hosted by local Parks

A mom and her young daughter meditate outside.

Attending cultural events hosted by local parks is a great way not only to expand your knowledge of other backgrounds and ethnicities, but also get you families with smaller urban parks and other unpopular areas. These areas hold tons of history that are dying to be shared by older members of the BIPOC outdoor community. By attending these events in smaller areas, you are breaking the stigma that the outdoors needs to be extravagant.


You don't need to go to Banff, the Grand Canyon, or Zion to be 'outdoorsy'. You can still be 'outdoorsy' and just be at a local park within your city. Edmonton, Alberta, hosts 'Heritage Days' every year, where hundreds of people gather in a park downtown and try food, treats, and more from multiple different cultures. It's a perfect amount of fun and outdoors—check to see if your area has something similar.



Thank you for helping us make the outdoors a more inclusive space for all families!

A man and a young girl with an amputeed leg hike along a wall.

Understanding how to make the outdoors a more inclusive space can be difficult, but putting in the work is the only way it can be done. We hope these tips help you understand how you can assist in making the outdoors a more welcoming and safe space for all those wanting a place. 


 


Don't forget to tag us @KidsWhoExplore #KidsWhoExplore for your chance to be featured on our Instagram page. Happy Exploring!

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